Saturday, December 6, 2014

Vikings' Steen finishes fifth at NCAA Division II cross country championships...

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky--Western Washington's Katelyn Steen (left/photo courtesy WWU Athletics) finished fifth to become the second runner in school history to place in the top five at the NCAA Division II cross country championships on a wet course that had to be shortened at E. P. "Tom" Sawyer Park.

The original 6k course was shortened to 5.78k due to an accumulation of 1 1/2 inches of rain from Friday on.

Steen ran 21:29, as Kendra Foley of Grand Valley State led a 1-2-3 GVS finish by winning in 21:06, helping Grand Valley State to a national title with a low score of 50 points.

Following Steen for the Vikings were Taylor Guenther in 51st (22:17), Haley O'Connor in 98th (22:48), Austin Reiter in 126th (23:10), and Makhaila Thornton in 140th (23:20) to round out their scorers.

The Vikings finished 12th with 352 points, while Central Washington, who edged out Western two weeks ago at the NCAA West Regionals in Billings, Montana,  finished 18th with 461 points.

"She went for it right from the beginning and was right with the eventual champion over halfway through the race," said Viking coach Pee Wee Halsell of Steen, who entered the race as the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and West Regional champion. "She had an amazing race that capped off an incredible cross country career."

The only other Viking runner to finish in the top five at the NCAA cross country championships was Sarah Porter, who finished second in both 2009 and 2010.

Central Washington was led by Connie Morgan, who earned her second straight All-America certificate with a 28th place finish in 21:56.

After Morgan, Dani Eggleston was the next Wildcat across the line in 42nd, two spots out of All-America honors in 22:07.  Megan Rogers then followed in 89th place (22:46), followed by Hannah Dowdell in 177th (23:41), and Erin Chinchar in 203rd (24:12) to close out their scorers.

"Connie just really showed her level of running maturity," CWU head coach Kevin Adkisson said. "She got out there and ran a strong first mile, and was well positioned and gradually moved her way to the front."

Commenting on the Wildcats' season, Adkisson said, "I'm very content with the top 20 finish. That's what we said we wanted. Our ladies had a great year overall and I'm so proud of everything we did. We set this goal a year ago and they did the work over the year to make this happen. If someone told me before all of this that we would be 18th overall I would have said 'that would be awesome'".

In the men's 9.65k race, Western Washington, making its eighth straight NCAA championship meet appearance, finished 13th with a score of 332 points, as perennial powerhouse Adams State of Colorado, led by individual champion Tabor Stevens (30:02) won the national title with a low of 69 points.

The Vikings were led by Isaac Griffith in 54th place (31:46), followed by Sean Eustis in 63rd (31:54), Tabor Reedy in 74th (32:10), and Nathan Richards in 94th (32:25).

In Cheney, Jozie Kimes and Jordan Arakawa of Eastern Washington highlighted competition in the Candy Cane Invitational meet to open the 2015 indoor track & field season for the Eagles at Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse.

Kimes on Friday won the pentathlon with a final score of 3359 points, missing the school record by one point, running 8.97 in the 55 hurdles (779 points), winning the high jump at 5-3.25/1.61m (747), throwing the shot 31-0.5/9.46m (494), long jumping 16-8.75/5.10m (587), and running 2:25.38 in the 800 (752).

Arakawa, the reigning Big Sky weight throw champ, won his specialty with a toss of 62-8 (19.10m).

One notable mark for the Eagles came in the triple jump as Morena Mannucci set a mark of 39-2.25 (11.94m) in finishing second, just short of the school record of 39-2.5 (11.94m).

In the dual meet scoring the Eagles fell to Montana on both the men's (58-49) and women's (46-34) side.

Eastern Washington's release is available here.  Complete results of the meet are available here.

In Boston, the University of Portland's Tansey Lystad finished fourth in the 5000m at the BU Season Opener at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center.

Lystad, a graduate of Inglemoor HS ran 15:51.12, as Sarah Disanza of Wisconsin, who finished second in the NCAA cross country championships two weeks ago won in a time of 15:20.57.

Results of the BU Season Opener are available here.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Western, Central and Eastern Washington University contributed to this report.

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